Some folks I’ve spoken with find “lab day” to be their least favorite part of the weight loss program. Although I don’t enjoy needles, I’m so glad to have the endocrinologist evaluating my well-being through blood tests periodically. For those who are curious, I’d like to describe “lab day.”
When you arrive at the clinic and check in, they tell you if it’s time to do labs when you order your meal replacements. After you weigh in and pick up your meal replacements, you’re handed a sheet to take to the laboratory, which is one floor up from the weight loss clinic in our building. Down the hall and around the corner, you hand off your paperwork and take a seat.
I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes to be seen by the lab technicians, and I’m often taken back before sitting down in the waiting room. Once inside, you’re asked to sit in a chair like the one pictured above. The phlebotomist wraps a rubber strap around your arm, asks you to make a fist, rubs you with a sanitizing swab, inserts a needle, and draws two vials of blood to be tested.
I’m so surprised how pain-free this process really is. Only once did they have an issue finding a vein. After the blood is taken, the phlebotomist removes the needle, asks you to hold a cotton ball against the site, and wraps your arm with a band to hold the cotton ball in place. My labs were done yesterday, and I have no marks on my arm or any form of pain today.
Typically, you then head to class. The following week, you see the doctor, who looks over your labs. This week I asked to see the doctor the same day because of a scheduling conflict next week. The clinic was able to work me in before class, which was very convenient.
The frequency with which you are required to have lab work done depends on your track. Red patients see the doctor once every two weeks. Orange patients see the doctor every month. Yellow patients see the doctor once every 2-3 months. Green patients no longer have to see the doctor. I started out as red, transitioned to orange, and now I’m a Yellow Fellow.